Here are three issues that are challenging the growing commercial truck sector.
Fluctuating Fuel Prices
The cost of diesel increased 3.1 cents in the final week of January, which was the first increase in three weeks. January ended with an average price of $3.904 per gallon, according to new figures from the U.S. Energy Department. “While the gain erased most of price decline seen the past couple of weeks, diesel is still 2.3 cents lower than it was a year ago,” reported TruckingInfo.com. “Prices moved higher in all regions of the country over the past week, rising from as little as 0.1 cent in the Gulf Coast region, to as much as 8.4 cents in the Central Atlantic section of the East Coast region, where the average is $4.144.”
Fluctuating gas prices continue to be a challenge for commercial truck carriers who have to offset more trucks on the road with ways to cut fuel costs and consumptions. Despite the need to hire more drivers, truck carriers are also having to deal with rising fuel costs, which is causing many carriers to consider alternative fuels.
A Need for Better Roads
Funding for highways improvements will continue to be a big need for the commercial tuck industry in 2014.
“The Obama administration continues to send urgent signals that the Highway Trust Fund is in trouble,” reported TruckingInfo.com. “In remarks Monday to the American Trucking Associations Executive Committee, Peter Rogoff, acting under secretary at the Transportation Department, said the fund probably will run into the red before the program ends Oct. 1.”
“That means that as a department we will be required to slow down our spending in order to maintain a positive balance, potentially in the heart of the construction season,” Rogoff said.
Shortage of Drivers
The truck driver shortage is impacting truck carriers all across the country. “Nationwide there are about 25,000 unfilled truck driving jobs, according to the American Trucking Associations (ATA),” reported BusinessWeek. “That’s a manageable shortfall for now, given a still-struggling economy and lower-than-expected demand. Analysts expect freight volumes, which were flat in 2013, to rise only slightly in 2014—but that could be enough to create a need for more drivers.”
The shortage of truck drivers has caused some economist to predict that more freight will be moved to trains. But that doesn’t appear to be the case.
“There’s a lot of talk about intermodal and that more freight is going on the rails, but currently trucks carry 68.5 percent of tonnage while rail intermodal carries only a tiny part – 1.7 percent,” said Philip Byrd, 2014 chairman of the American Trucking Associations, in a recent TruckingInfo.com article. “We project in 2024 trucks will carry 70 percent of tonnage.”
Fluctuating fuel prices, a need for better roads and a shortage of qualified drivers are all impacting the commercial truck industry. Despite these challenges, the trucking sector is growing and that is good news for jobseekers with professional CDL training from a school like US Truck.
If you are looking for a new career field and think becoming a professional truck driver might be the right fit for you, then consider completing the CDL training program at the United States Truck Driving School. Graduates of the program are put in the best position for a great truck driving career because the United States Truck Driving School has a great reputation among carriers.
Carriers will continue to face numerous challenges, but some of those challenges – such as the shortage of quality drivers – will be an opportunity for jobseekers who have the right training and experience behind the week.
Now is the perfect time to launch a new career as a commercial truck driver and US Truck’s CDL training program can help make that happen. The instructors at US Truck Driving School are some of the best in the country with the expertise that is creating the kind of commercial truck drivers that carriers all across the country are looking for. The CDL training program at US Truck puts students at the top of the list for some of the best truck driving jobs in the country and is helping hundreds of jobseekers launch a new career in one of America’s fastest growing employment fields.